Parliament Head Ali Abdel Aal said on Sunday that the assembly has the jurisprudence to discuss the maritime demarcation agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia despite the court ruling that the islands should remain Egyptian property.
Earlier in April, Egypt’s Urgent Affairs Court nullified the Supreme Administrative Court’s ruling that had rejected the government plan to transfer Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia.
“We will not recognize any rulings issued on the agreement of Tiran and Sanafir [islands],” Abdel Aal said at a session of the assembly’s Legislative Committee, according to Al-Ahram.
On Sunday, Egyptian lawmakers began debating the controversial agreement to hand over the two strategic islands to Saudi Arabia amid opposition.
According to state-run newspaper Al-Ahram, verbal quarrels erupted between a number of MPs in opposition of the deal and the government’s representatives, with the former claiming they did not see the original documents of the deal signed between Egypt and Saudi Arabia until now.
Abdel Aal, known to be pro-government, accused opposition lawmakers of seeking to “ruin” the session.
According to a government report advising parliament on the terms of the agreement, Egypt will keep administrative control over the islands for now.
“The agreement only ends (Egyptian) sovereignty and does not end the necessity of Egypt protecting this area for reasons of Egyptian and Saudi Arabian national security,” the report said.
No date was set for a vote on the case in parliament, but the discussion is ongoing until Tuesday.
Recently, prominent lawyer Khalid Ali managed to obtain documentation of judicial verdicts from Egypt’s Supreme Court that asserted Egyptian sovereignty over the two islands.
However, the Egyptian government still considers the islands as Saudi property, claiming that in 1950 the late Saudi King Abdel Aziz Al-Saud asked to impose military guardianship on the islands.